Tuesday, April 02, 2024

My Very Inspired Museum Idea

 Hi! Remember me? I'm Anne Johnson, by golly, and today I applied for Medicare!

Time to start posting in large print, so I'll be able to see what I've written.

Just kidding! I'm hale and hearty, as fine a specimen of crone as you'll find anywhere.

On April 1 I went into Philadelphia to meet my daughter The Fair at the Macy's department store that's right across the street from City Hall. This Macy's is located in the flagship store for the John Wanamaker chain, which I think was local to Philly before it went out of business.

The building dates to a time when going to the department store was an Event. There are hand-tiled mosaics in the entryways, and there's a central atrium with an eagle statue. Above the statue on the second and third floors are the enormous pipes of a huge organ. There are still two organ recitals per day, with a real live person playing the music. In the atrium you can see all five floors of the building. These days the top two floors are dark.

We got there during the organ recital, and it was so beautiful it took my breath away. Prettier than a church, for sure.

But quickly I noticed that the store was almost empty of people. There were a few advanced senior citizens listening to the music, but otherwise it wasn't crowded at all. When Fair and I went to the third floor to look at linens and such, we were the only people on the entire floor. Literally the only customers, and one employee wandered by after we had been there an hour. It felt spooky, like we had stayed inside somehow after closing time.

Truly sad.

I began reminiscing to Fair about how department stores were when I was a kid. How you would dress up to go there, and how each department had multiple employees ready to help you with anything. How bustling the stores were. They had tea rooms and restroom attendants and managers that strolled around in fancy suits. So swanky!

As we headed out of the palatial old building, I descended into gloom. Macy's won't keep that store open forever, if no one shops there. Then what happens to all the mosaics, the organ, the eagle, the marble columns?

That's when I had my brainstorm. The whole thing could be a National Museum of American Retail!

Can you imagine a re-created department store circa 1940, with vintage clothes and sundries and appliances and toys? Docents dressed up like salespeople? And of course the organ recitals would go right on, as well as the Christmas displays the store always does on the holiday. This could be such a fun museum! Interactive, you know? A floor where kids could play with Lincoln Logs and jacks and hug teddy bears and put their feet in those measuring things for shoes. A maze of clothing racks to run through. And I don't know about you, but I would completely froth at the mouth over a display of 1940s-era formal wear.

The building is already there. It's already a department store. It's nine freakin' blocks from Independence Hall!

See what happens when you attain geezerhood, as I have? You start pining for the good ol' days of epic department stores, and you realize those days are bygone. So then, as your own bones would fit into many a museum at this point, you start to think of fabulous museum ideas.

Ah, me.


How long has it been since I've written? No matter. I did a thing.

In New Jersey there are stray cats that live under the boardwalks along the shore. That is, until they come live with me! Behold my new feline, appropriately named Taffy!

Yes, she's goofy-looking, and yes, she climbs every level. She pushes stuff off on the floor and grabs whole chunks of food to drag away. And if we scold her, she says "Waddya mean I can't have spaghetti? Fuggedabbout it."

Taffy didn't look like this when we got her. She's put on a good pound, and her fur is fuller. She wants to know where I've stashed her surf board, and I don't have the heart to tell her she's now 55 miles from the beach.

Until we meet again, whenever that is, I remain,

Your correspondent from the cobwebbed corners,

Anne Johnson


gigimon said...

Taffy has lovely and fun markings!!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Welcome to Geezerhood, Anne! I got here before you and am now reliant on Large Print, awash in nostalgia for The Good Old Days, and on the lookout everywhere for Seniors' Discounts.

Taffy is such a pretty cat! I'm sure she'll love living with you and Mr J in her new Forever Home!

e said...

Anne, I, too, have just gone through that rite of passage called signing up for Medicare. What a crock!

I think your museum idea is a good one. Possibly only interesting to the aged, but we are legion.

Taffy looks like she's already in charge. Ruling the roost from the top of the fridge!